When describing C’était un Rendez-vous Jeremy Clarkson claimed that “it makes Bullitt look like a cartoon” and Carroll Shelby simply said “Outstanding”.

Filming took place on public streets through Paris, there were no closed roads, safety supervisors, or medical personnel on standby. Obviously this is inadvisable and you or I shouldn’t try it, but thanks to director (and driver) Claude Lelouch we can see exactly what it looks like.

Claude deliberately chose an early morning in August, a time when everyone in France is on holiday, to ensure that the streets would be as empty as possible.

The resulting 8 minute and 40 second film has been the subject of much debate amongst the automobile cognoscenti in the years since it was first released as a short before Woody Allen’s 1978 film Interiors.

The sound of the car is identifiable as a Ferrari 275 GTB V12, however it was actually filmed from a camera mounted to the side of a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL with a 6.9 litre V8. This camera was loaded with 1,000 feet of 35mm film. The V12 engine was dubbed in later for dramatic effect.

Regardless of this audio subterfuge, C’était un Rendez-vous is essential viewing for any petrolhead.

Cétait un Rendez vous Route 740x452 - Film: C'était un Rendez-vous - 1970s Street Racing in Paris